- Gebundene Ausgabe: 544 Seiten
- Verlag: Sourcebooks, Inc; Auflage: Har/Com (September 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1570719861
- ISBN-13: 978-1570719868
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 4,4 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 424.998 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon with CD (Audio): The Rise and Fall of an American Icon (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – September 2002
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Lenny Bruce committed his life to telling the truth - as he saw it. But the things he said infuriated those in power, which is why the authorities in the largest, most progressive cities in the USA tried relentlessly to put him in jail. To them, Lenny's words were anarchic and immoral. For his fans - the hip, the discontented, the fringe - his words were not only razor sharp but a beacon in the dark, repressed society that was the early 1960s.
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Bruce was arrested many times for obscenity, but particularly interesting in this book is the demonstration that what often drove the arrests was irritation about his blasphemy. Bruce had routines that could bother any denomination. After mockingly accepting Jewish responsibility for killing Jesus, he roared, "We Jews killed Christ, and if he comes back, we'll kill him again!" He had a hilarious routine in which Christ and Moses come into the back of St. Patrick's Cathedral, to the embarrassment of Cardinal Spellman and Archbishop Sheen, who have to telephone the pope to explain ("_Of course they're white!_"). We have no blasphemy laws in this country (to the dismay, still, of some), but he was literally brought up on blasphemy charges. Blasphemy could not stick, but obscenity might. The problem Bruce had was that according to the Supreme Court decision in _Roth_, a work had to be taken as a whole, but the cops and prosecutors always concentrated on the specific words. The vice squad informers could, during a performance, tally every naughty synonym Bruce used for genitalia or coitus, and then present the list for consideration by the grand jury. Consideration to the sweep of Bruce's satire was seldom given.
As demonstrated in this comprehensive and well referenced volume, by two lawyers who obviously love their subject and enjoy explaining First Amendment issues, Bruce has had a resurrection. There have been plays and movies, but more importantly, as George Carlin (who was once arrested for attending a Bruce performance) said, "Lenny opened all the doors, or kicked them down." The nightclubs and comedy clubs are now open for anyone, with the sensible idea that if you might be offended by what you hear, don't pay to go in. A stand-up comic might fear bombing on stage, or getting heckled, but because Bruce has already taken the heat, no comic has to fear getting arrested. Within this book is a CD of Bruce giving some of his most famous routines, and commentary by admirers and detractors. On it, Margaret Cho, who continues in the tradition of offering outrageous satirical commentary, says that she knows part of her job, as Bruce's descendant, is to disrupt polite society, but she knows what has gone before: "I don't want to end up like him, but I want to be like him."
In its discussion of the post-death and resurrected Lenny Bruce the book ascends to its highest level. The irony of Lenny Bruce as a First Amendment icon, whose free speech is beyond challange and the political destruction of William Kuh provide brilliant insights on the vicissitudes of American popular culture since the 1960s
The authors went about their task by looking into the legal aspects of the trials. They said that the trials were not fairly judged and that the jury was not a completely fair jury. The author's evidence was reliant upon the past cases that were put forward by the Supreme Court. They also heavily relied upon what happened in Lenny's life to show
how Lenny progressed as the trials went on and how his routines changed from fairly comedic routines, to serious routines. The routines were more about society in general to begin with at first, but as Lenny's addiction to heroine increased, the comedian became more and more fazed by the trials. The author's sources were the legal documents that the Supreme Court had on Lenny Bruce, as well as other books on Lenny, movies, recordings, both published and unpublished interviews with people that were involved in either the trials that Lenny was in, or lived during the time that Lenny was alive, radio programs on Bruce, newspaper articles or reviews on Lenny, and court documents that involved the cases that Lenny had. The author's use pictures as a graphic way of seeing Lenny and getting to take a look at the guy instead of just assuming a picture into the mind. The pictures add very little to the text, though, as they are partly used for filler for the book. The authors also included an audio tape to the front of the book. The audio tape really did add to the meaning of the book, because instead of just reading about his routines, it allowed for the reader to actually listen to his routines and see what Lenny was clearly trying to state during his routines. It proved a point that in order to really know what was going on at the time, you had to listen to what Lenny was saying, and not just writing that was placed in a book. No book really can exclaim the same meaning as an audio tape can.
The author's were both successful in writing this book. They did not have to go about and write this book, but like Lenny, they wanted to change the opinions and feelings of others for Lenny. They were both graduates of law school, and are not only successful in the legal area, but they are also talented and diligent in the writing area. The
authors persuaded me to continue reading through the book, because they were able to use colorful language and the fact that they knew what they were clearly talking about. These writers were not just completely opinion based during this book, but they were also legally based in the sense that they were able to show what was legally going on during the trials, and Lenny's life. As stated before, this book had a need to be written. It had to show that Lenny was not just there to make "naughty swears" in his routines, but it showed that Lenny questioned authority, and that was what really got him into trouble. I would highly advise for people that want to read about Lenny's life to get this book. It really does show that Lenny was not just a figment of history, but that his comedy is still widely accepted today. Go pick a copy up for yourself, and see what the 1950's were really like in America.